Bizkaia will replicate the Oma Forest before the advance of the pine disease



Ibarrola’s work

Agencies | Drafting

The forest is currently closed because the painted trees are “dying.” The Provincial Council has decided to reproduce Ibarrola’s paintings in a nearby forest.


Oma Forest / EiTB

The Provincial Council of Bizkaia will replicate the Oma Forest, a work created by Agustín Ibarrola in Kortezubi (Bizkaia), in another forest near its current location so that “the whole meaning of Oma’s work remains alive” despite the fact that the trees in which it was painted “die”, according to has affirmed the general deputy, Unai Rementeria.

The initiative was announced this Wednesday in Bilbao by the deputy general, together with the son of the painter José Ibarrola, and part of the group of experts consulted for this project. The Oma Forest is currently closed due to the risk of falling trees, some of which are “reaching the end of their life cycle” and 80% are affected by the so-called ‘brown band’ disease.

Faced with this situation, the Provincial Council has proposed, with the support of the Ibarrola family, to reproduce the paintings of this “symbol of Bizkaia” in another nearby forest, whose location has yet to be determined.

The exact replica is “impossible”

Both Rementeria and Jose Ibarrola have admitted that an exact replica of the work that their father made in the Forest of Oma is impossible, for which they have pointed out that more than a reproduction of the paintings it will be a “transfer of the concept” embodied in Oma by Ibarrola to another “nearby” forest with the aim of “keeping alive” the painter’s work.

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The deputy general has indicated that it has not yet decided where they will place this replica but has advanced that the place has to meet various requirements: “The first, that it is close to Oma; that it is technically possible, both due to the type of trees and their age; that it is an accessible place for visitors; that the performance is respectful with the environment and with the reserve of Urdaibai; and, essential, that Agustín Ibarrola himself and his family agree “.

For his part, Ibarrola explained that the artistic concept that hides the “Bosque Pintado de Oma” (made between 1982 and 1985) is “a plastic language inherited from his time at Equipo 57 when its members worked on plastic concepts linked to interventions in social life”.

As the artist’s son has admitted, of the extensive group of paintings made on the trunks of the pines “not even half remain”, since part of the forest was cut down by its owner as part of his logging activity.

Visiting the complex is prohibited

Finally, the general deputy of Bizkaia recalled that visits to the pictorial complex are prohibited before the bad state of the forest and he has asked that this prohibition be respected since, despite it, there are people who continue to try to visit him with the consequent risk to his physical integrity.

In addition, it has advanced that action will be taken to try to keep the Oma sets open as much as possible and that the forest will be repopulated with native species.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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